Bundiyarra in Geraldton, Western Australia recently held an event to mark the five-year anniversary of the formal apology to Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Stolen Generations.
It was an emotional day for people directly involved in the Stolen Generations, but also for the people not involved, with heart felt stories and testimonies of families being forced to separate from their children and parents.
Deborah Robinson – “My Father was seven years old when he was taken off his Mother. My Father was made to work; he was disciplined harshly during his schooling and working life.
Age was no barrier for work and if you didn’t work, you’d get beaten.
My Father left that mission at the age of 14 with immense work ethics and with a sound knowledge that white people was always right.”
The one thing I could honestly say that I’m proud of my Father for, is that he despised alcohol.
We were one of the fortunate families to grow up in a non-alcoholic environment. It was never allowed in our house, and we were never allowed to associate with people who did drink.
But for the beatings our Father gave us, I don’t blame him. He was conditioned, he was only living the way he was taught to live.”
Deborah says it’s all about bridging the gap.
“At the moment, there is still that gap there, and I am really hoping that will happen. I really do want a secure future for my Grandchildren, and I want them to grow up knowing about the Stolen Generation, but not having to live with the pain, that was handed down.”
After the formal proceedings I was privileged enough to spend some time with two Aboriginal women who shared their recounts of the massive impact of being separated from their families in the Midwest.